Yuan Yao


Yao Lab
Assistant Professor of Industrial Ecology and Sustainable Systems and Chemical & Environmental Engineering
Room / Office: Kroon Hall
Office Address:
195 Prospect Street
New Haven, CT 06511
Email: y.yao@yale.edu
  • Ph.D., Northwestern University
  • B.S., Northeastern University
  • Management for Scientists and Engineers, Kellogg School of Management


Dr. Yao's research is motivated by the increasing need for sustainable solutions that can support industrial development without compromising the environment or depleting the resources for future generations. Her research investigates how emerging technologies and industrial development will affect the environment. She uses interdisciplinary approaches in industrial ecology, sustainable engineering, and machine learning to develop systems analysis tools to support engineering and policy decisions towards sustainability. She develops new methods and integrated modeling frameworks to assess, advance, and optimize industrial systems for improved environmental and societal outcomes.

Selected Awards & Honors:

  • 2020: American Institute of Chemical Engineers 35 Under 35 Award
  • 2019: U.S. National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award
  • 2017: Outstanding Reviewer of 2016, Environmental Research Letter
  • 2015: ISIE Young Professional Scholarship, International Society of Industrial Ecology
  • 2015: ISIE Scholarship, International Society of Industrial Ecology
  • 2013: ISEN Fellowship, Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern

Selected Publications:

ORCID: 0000-0001-9359-2030

Lan, K., Park, S., Kelley, S., English, B., Yu, E., Larson, J. and Y. Yao* (2020). Understanding the Effects of Feedstock Quality Uncertainties on the Economic Feasibilities of Fast Pyrolysis Biorefineries with Blended Feedstocks and Decentralized Preprocessing Sites in the Southeastern United States. GCB Bioenergy. 12: 1014– 1029. 

Liao, M., Kelley, SS. and Y. Yao* (2020). Generating Energy and Greenhouse Gas Inventory Data of Activated Carbon Production Using Machine Learning and Kinetic Based Process Simulation. ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering.

Johnson, S., Echeverria, D., Venditti, R., Jameel, H. and Y. Yao* (2020). Supply Chain of Waste Cotton Recycling and Reuse: A Review. AATCC Journal of Research-Textile Science. AATCC Journal of Research 7(1):19-31.

Lan, K. Park, S. and Y. Yao* (2019). Biofuels for a More Sustainable Future: Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment, Multi-Criteria Decision Making, and Supply Chain Design, Chapter 10, Challenges and Status Quo of Models for Biofuel Supply Chain Design. Elsevier.

Lan, K., Ou, L., Park, S., Kelley, SS. and Y. Yao* (2019). Life Cycle Assessment of Decentralized Preprocessing Systems for Fast Pyrolysis Biorefineries with Blended Feedstocks in the Southeastern United States. Energy Technology.

Lan, K. and Y. Yao* (2019). Integrating Life Cycle Assessment and Agent-Based Modeling: A Dynamic Modeling Framework for Sustainable Agricultural Systems. Journal of Cleaner Production, Volume 238, 117853.

Nabinger, A., Tomberlin, K., Venditti, R., and Y. Yao* (2019). Using a Data-Driven Approach to Unveil Greenhouse Gas Emission Intensities of Different Pulp and Paper Products, Procedia CIRP, 80, Pages 689-692.

Yao, Y*. and Huang, R (2019). A Parametric Life Cycle Modeling Framework for Identifying Research Development Priorities of Emerging Technologies: A Case Study of Additive Manufacturing, Procedia CIRP, 80, 370-375.

Liao, M., Kelley, SS, and Y. Yao* (2019). "Artificial neural network based modeling for the prediction of yield and surface area of activated carbon from biomass". Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining.

Yao, Y.*, Marano, J., Morrow III, W. R., and E. Masanet (2018). "Quantifying carbon capture potential and cost of carbon capture technology application in the U.S. refining industry". International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, Volume 74, 87-98.

Yao, Y.*, Chang, Y., Huang, R., Zhang, L., and E. Masanet (2018). "Environmental implications of the methanol economy in China: well-to-wheel comparison of energy and environmental emissions for different methanol fuel production pathways". In Journal of Cleaner Production, Volume 172, Pages 1381-1390.

Yao, Y.* and E. Masanet, Life-cycle modeling framework for generating energy and greenhouse gas emissions inventory of emerging technologies in the chemical industry, In Journal of Cleaner Production, Volume 172, 2018, Pages 768-777.

Yao, Y.*, Graziano, D., Riddle, M., Cresko, J., and E. Masanet (2016). “Prospective Life Cycle Assessment of Emerging Technology Options for U.S. Ethylene Industry.” Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research. 55 (12), pp 3493–3505.

Yao, Y., Graziano, D., Riddle, M., Cresko, J., and E. Masanet (2015). “Understanding Variability to Reduce the Energy and GHG Footprints of U.S. Ethylene Production.” Environmental Science and Technology, 49, 14704.

Chang, Y., Li, G., Yao, Y, Zhang, L., and C. Yu (2016). “Quantifying the Water-Energy-Food Nexus: Current Status and Trends.” Energies, 2016, 9(2), 65.

Yao, Y., Graziano, D., Riddle, M., Cresko, J., and E. Masanet (2014). “Greener Pathways to Energy-Intensive Commodity Chemicals: Opportunities and Challenges.” Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering, 6:90-98.

Yao, Y*, Chang, Y., and E. Masanet (2014). “A Hybrid Life-Cycle Inventory for Multi-crystalline Silicon PV Module Manufacturing in China.” Environmental Research Letters. 9:114001.

Masanet, E., Chang, Y., Yao, Y., Briam, R., and R. Huang (2014). “Reflections on a Massive Open Online LCA Course.” International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment. 19(12): 1901-1907.

Gebreslassie, B.H., Yao, Y., and F. You (2012). “Design Under Uncertainty of Hydrocarbon Biorefinery Supply Chains: Multiobjective Stochastic Programming Models, Decomposition Algorithm, and a Comparison Between CVaR and Downside Risk.” AIChE Journal, 58: 2155-2179, 2012.